I’ve written about Pongo Teen Writing Project in the past, but in case you missed it, it’s a program here in Seattle that mentors kids in juvenile detention (begun in 1998) and the state psychiatric hospital for children (begun in 2000). Volunteers work with these youth to express themselves through poetry as a way to understand, deal with, and recover from difficulties in their lives.
They continue to make huge differences in these kids lives, and are expanding as they are able in order to spread the goodness. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email they sent out talking about their continued efforts:
I’ve completed a chapter on Pongo’s methods for teaching writing to distressed youth. The chapter will be included in a book “Expressive Writing: Foundations of Practice,” edited by Kathleen Adams (Therapeutic Writing Institute), that will be published by Rowman & Littlefield Education next year. “Foundations” is the first book in a series of titles on expressive writing, to which I will be contributing!
Pongo is mentoring new poetry projects at agencies in Seattle and around the country. In addition to Pongo’s first duckling project at Friends of the Children, we have projects starting up locally at New Horizons Ministries (drop-in for homeless youth) and at Children’s Hospital (in-patient psychiatric clinic).
If you are a teen anywhere, their website offers writing exercises and for teachers who believe in the power of words to change lives, they also list free resources. If you know of similar programs around the country or the world, I invite you to post information and links here to spread the word.